Dunn's Dispatch: Accountabilty on the Perimeter

Dec. 3, 2007
Do you know how to discard smoldering material out a window without killing or seriously injuring a fellow firefighter?

Who is accountable when a firefighter throws smoldering rubble out a window during overhauling and injures a fellow firefighter operating on the ground around the perimeter of the burning building? Is it the firefighter who threw the material out the window or the firefighter outside struck by the material?

You can wet down all the smoldering material in the fire area. You can fill up all the sinks and bathtub up with soaking smoldering material. You can carry the rubble down in a trash can. But sometimes in a multi-story building during overhauling, you may have to throw smoldering rubble out a window. You can do it is a safe way, or you can do it in a dangerous way. and possibly throw it on top of another unsuspecting firefighter, and leave him or her permanently disabled.

Do you know how to discard smoldering material out a window without killing or seriously injuring a fellow firefighter?

The perimeter of a burning building is one of the most dangerous areas of the fireground. The front sidewalk, side alley and rear yard are danger zones for falling objects. Yet, firefighters must raise ladders, operate hose streams, vent windows and conduct forcible entry around the perimeter of a burning building and they are frequently injured by falling objects.

During a fire we must be aware of falling object dangers from above. When working around the perimeter of a burning building, as soon as the assigned task is complete firefighters should either, enter the building, or withdraw from the danger zone of falling objects.

For more information go to www.vincentdunn.com and use the Google search feature with keywords "Falling Objects".

Vincent Dunn, a Firehouse Magazine contributing editor, is a 42-year veteran of the FDNY and a deputy chief (ret.), serving as division commander for midtown Manhattan. A nationally renowned lecturer, he is the author of the best-selling text and video series Collapse of Burning Buildings and the textbooks Safety and Survival on the Fireground and Command and Control of Fires and Emergencies. A new book, Strategy of Firefighting - How to Extinguish Fires will be published in April. Dunn has a master's degree in urban studies, a bachelor's degree in sociology and an associate's degree in fire administration from Queens College, City University of New York. He can be reached at 1-800-231-3388 or via through his website at www.vincentdunn.com.

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